Have you ever heard somebody saying casually: “Oh, it must be because of karma from a past life”? Spiritual people usually mention this when they try to find reasons for a seemingly inexplicable circumstance. If the law of attraction is not applicable, then the law of karma will do the job. But I want to warn you about the dangers of throwing around such ambigous statements.
If you’ve listened to me before, then you will know that I don’t believe in afterlife, past life or reincarnation. Subsequently, I also don’t believe that karma can come from a past life or that it can be brought into the next one. In spite of this, many people find it useful to go back to their past lives under hypnosis in order to understand their current lives better.
For example, let’s imagine a young lady who feels a constant suffocating feeling around her throat. She’s been trying to cure herself for years to no avail. All the doctors turn her away, because no matter what kind of examinations they carry out, they can’t seem to identify anything as the cause. As a last resort, she turns to a so-called past-life regression therapist. Although she’s not sure what to think of reincarnation, she decides to give it a try anyway, because she has nothing to lose.
The therapist assures her not to worry, because if the case seems inexplicable, then the key to her ailment must be in her past life. Well of course the therapist would say that, otherwise he would be out of his job quite quickly. The young lady’s mind is rather suggestible, especially under hypnosis. The conviction about the reality of reincarnation grows inside her with each passing moment.
After the induction, the hypnotist suggests her to enter a large door, behind which she will be able to see her past life. And lo and behold, as soon as she enters, vivid visions of another life rush into her mind. The therapist then asks the patient to go to her last memory of this alleged past life, and to remember exactly how she died. And then the realization strucks her: she can see herself drowning in water, so that must be why she had these suffocating feelings all along.
As she comes back to a normal waking state, her mind is relieved. She finally got an explanation, she finally understands what’s going on. She feels immense gratitude towards the therapist and pays him up nicely. The therapist is also happy that his livelihood is guaranteed and that he could help another lost soul. What’s more, the therapy is truly effective, because the symptoms never return to the lady, so all is well.
But is it, really? What really just happened? What if we tried to explain this strange occurance without relying on paranormal explanations? Why didn’t the doctors find a physical cause of her ailment in the first place? This must mean that her disease was psychosomatic, in other words, created by her own mind.
She must have felt suffocated emotionally, she was oppressed by her husband, or she had to be obedient to her boss, or her home felt like a prison to her. Whatever the reason, this suffocating feeling grew so strong that after some time it manifested as a physical symptom. Of course this all happened unconsciously, and that’s the reason she didn’t find the cause: she was not aware enough. But that doesn’t mean that there was no explanation in this life, and that it can only be explained by a past life.
With that, we come to the second strange fact in this case. How can it be that a simple explanation alone could cure her disease? The answer is the same again: that it was only psychosomatic, in other words, just a belief. Her drowning in her past life offered her a comfortable explanation, a comforting belief, and the two beliefs simply cancelled each other out.
An imaginary problem can only be cured by an imaginary treatment. That is exactly what the therapist offered his patient: a new belief, an entire belief system. The young lady cannot know for sure whether she really drowned in her past life, but until she believes it, she stays healthy. The therapist on the other hand is quite sure that it didn’t really happen, at least if he’s honest enough to admit it to himself.
I had a hypnosis teacher in India who also gave past-life regression classes. Once somebody asked him: are past-life memories really true? He answered: nobody knows, but it doesn’t matter as long as the patient feels better. Dr Brian Weiss, the most well-known past-life therapist of the 21st century gave almost exactly the same answer.
Well, I’m not so lenient about truth, even such white lies don’t fly with me. Besides, creating false memories in hypnosis can be just as dangerous as helpful. You could easily implant the memory of an imaginary trauma which now has to be treated. Just consider the craze of the ritual Satanic abuse in the 90s that eventually turned out to be pure fabrication.
The situation is very similar about your supposed karma coming from a past life. The only difference is that this time, you’re not looking for an explanation for a specific disease, but for your general circumstances. Why is somebody born poor and the other rich? Why is somebody successful without much effort, and why is somebody else in misery in spite of working hard?
Why don’t good things happen to you when you do good things? Why are evil, corrupt and egoistic people in positions of power? So many questions, but no definite answers. But your mind can’t stand confusion, it begs for answers, it grasps for an explanation. After mulling it over and over, logic finally comes up with an elegant answer: it’s all about the karma transcending lifetimes.
After all, there’s no injustice! You must be poor in this life, because you did bad things in the previous life. But not to worry, because if you do good things in this life, your reward will be a better rebirth. Also, there’s no need to envy the lucky. Their luck is the result of the positive karma they accumulated in a past life. It’s just another proof that if you gain merit, you will also be rewarded.
But to me, this kind of reasoning shines light on what past-life karma really is: just a comforting belief, just a comfortable explanation, just wishful thinking. It’s fueled by a psychological phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance. If in your mind, you are a good person carrying out good deeds, then how can it be that you don’t see good results? Certainly, you want to avoid the conclusion that you’re not such a good person after all and that your whole attitude can be wrong.
We never search for the faults in ourselves, we always want to blame some external circumstance. And what better ideology could you adopt than putting the responsibility on your past life for your current misfortunes? It’s so elegant, it’s so spiritual, it’s so soothing. And the best part? It can neither be proven nor disproven; it’s a perfect belief.
However, unlike a psychosomatic disease, poverty is a real thing, and you can’t just explain it away. You can come up with all kinds of excuses, but you will remain just as poor as before. In fact, this consoling lie will make it impossible to break out of poverty, because you’ll simply accept it thinking that you deserved it.
Some say that the idea of past-life karma was invented to keep the masses in place, especially in the cast-system in India. That can be easily true, and it proved to be highly effective: it stopped people from rebelling. But if you’re a true spiritual seeker, you have to be a rebel. You have to rebel against lies, against beliefs, against traditions. You have to take responsibility for your own life, and stop blaming everybody and everything: especially your past-life karma.
If you want to know more about death from a spiritual but down to earth perspective, you should read my book: The Power of Death. Click on the link below, and get it now! I’m deadly serious.